According to Orange County health officials, nine people who visited the theme park in September have developed the disease, and three others who had been in Anaheim but not in Disneyland also contracted Legionnaires. The patients ranged in age from 52 up to 94, an alarming fact given the severity of cases in patients aged 50 or older. Overall, 10 out of the 12 patients diagnosed with Legionnaires' have been hospitalized. The park did determine that bacteria levels in two of the park's cooling towers near the New Orleans Square's train station did in fact contain elevated levels of Legionella, the typically freshwater dwelling bacteria that causes the infection.
The towers at Disneyland Park have been treated with chemicals to destroy any remaining bacteria. This suggests that the risk of further outbreak is minimal, reports CBS San Francisco. Instead, the bacteria spreads through mist from devices like air-conditioning units or something like the park's cooling towers, which emit water vapor into the air.
Since the outbreak of the Flint, Michigan water crisis, the public has become increasingly aware of Legionnaire's disease, a vicious variant of pneumonia often spread through inhalation of contaminated water.
OCHA spokeswoman, Jessica Good, noted, "To date, no additional Legionella cases have been identified with potential exposure in Anaheim after September", CNN reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the leading national public health institute of the United States. It is treated with antibiotics, which can improve symptoms and shorten the length of illness. But for those who have "compromised immune systems", delay in treatment can put the patient in the hospital, and at risk for deadly complications. It will be another two weeks before the results of recent tests will come back notifying the park if the towers are free from contamination.